There’s not a lot I can say in solace. Right now, there are tens of thousands of Exeter students scattered across the world, all with our own personal crises in amidst a global pandemic. I keep finding myself reflecting on our unofficial slogan, “Bleed Green”, and in my mind’s eye I see all of you, flowing from the heart of our small community and spreading through the capillaries of the world. I remind myself that you will flow back to us, refreshed and anew.
As a student without family myself, I know how disorientating losing your entire physical support network can be. I comfort myself by saying that if we truly bleed green, then we do not have to be in Exeter to be together. Because if we truly bleed green, then Exeter is within us, always. We can continue to embody the good values that make us who we are. The values that saw hundreds of students helping each other to get home last week. The values that allowed unwell students to stay home whilst others fetched them essentials. The values that in the last few months signed petitions against hate and rallied for tolerance and love. If we truly bleed green, we can spread a little of Exeter, wherever we are.
Please know that we are working hard for you. And by ‘you,’ we really do mean you, individually, as a person. I go to bed each night not with numbers and data in my mind of X amount of degrees, or Y number of modules, but with the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of every single student weighing deeply in my heart.
I know the concerns around accessing learning materials, resources, and data collection. I know the frustrations around not having appropriate working environments, or unreliable internet connections. We are working with the University to come up with the best possible solutions for you all. To those with disabilities, those now with more childcare responsibilities, those facing enhanced anxiety, or bereavement, or isolation, or all three, those with no home to go to; we are working hard for you. We will continue to fight for fair access and assessment. We are available online. Our Advice service is open, and we will be holding regular digital drop-ins and sending out regular communications. Please continue to send me your concerns. I am busy, but I am never too busy to hear you. You are important.
Finally, in the chaos of this world-wide panic, it is important that we look to the local. To the communities that have sprung up and come together, to the neighbours offering help, and to the health, care, and retail workers continuing to ensure we are made well, looked after, and fed. And in doing so, we can reflect now on our official slogan; “Lucem Sequimur” (“We follow the Light”). We must remember that no matter how dark the world may feel, there is light. I recently campaigned to be re-elected, and one reason I was so elated post-campaigning is because I saw that light in all of you. From the green blood in your veins, to the collective light we look to, and follow, I promise you that we all have the resilience and community to get through this uncertain time.
Please continue to prioritise your health and the health of those around you.
Myself and the other officers will send detailed communications specific to our remits in due course.